R13 1st vs Coniston (927)

Coniston defeated Wollongong United 1-0 in front of a healthy crowd at JJ Kelly Park on Sunday afternoon in yet another rain affected round. In a game that lots of chances, it was a solitary strike from youngster James Anagnostopoulos that proved the difference. The win now extending Coniston’s lead in the IPL to a whopping 10 points.

Wollongong United started the match brightly as they probed Coniston’s left-hand defence in the early minutes.

The first real genuine opportunity came after four minutes when Mitsuo Yamada disposed James Anagnostopoulos in midfield. The ball fell neatly to Van Elia who slipped Nav Darjani in however, his left shot from the edge of the box when straight to Luke Genua.

Just two minutes later, Tyson Black played a delightful ball over the top from inside his own half which saw Christopher Arditti time his run perfectly however he just pulled his shot inches wide as both teams missed good early opportunities.

On six minutes, Darjani made a darting run on the left before cutting back to Elia who wastefully blasted over the bar from the edge of the box.

Darjani was looking lively and dangerous and he once again zipped through the Coniston defence on 19 minutes and charged towards goal. Darjani slipped the ball under Genua however Daniel Loe managed to scramble back to deny the attacker with an important goal line clearance.

Just two minutes later, some wonderful link up play in the midfield through Jordan Nikolovski, Van Elia and James Stojanovski saw Nikolovski through on goal and from ten yards out, he topped his shot as it rolled comfortably to Genua.

Wollongong United were guilty of some wasteful finishing as James Stojanovski fired wide from a tight angle not long after that opportunity.

On the half hour mark, Temma Nomura created a yard of space as he cut in from the left before firing a shot that produced a fine save from Tom Alston.

From the resulting corner, Adam Voloder’s volley produced another fabulous save from Alston.

Wollongong United won a penalty kick on 35 minutes when Yamada was bowled over in the penalty area. Nikolovski chose power over accuracy and subsequently, his shot was too close to Genua who got enough of his body behind it to block it.

From the resulting corner, Genua again produced a fine reflex save to deny Stojanovski on the far post.

It’s hard to fathom just how this match was scoreless at half time.

Just two minutes after the restart, a Coniston corner was only partially cleared as Aditti laid it off to James Anagnostopoulos who curled a shot from 25 yards that forced Alston into a flying finger save that saw the ball bounce up onto and over the cross bar.

Alston was doing his best to keep Wollongong United in the game early in the second half. Just a few minutes later, a free kick was whipped in to the far post where substitute Jake Morlando headed goal bound from just four yards out. Alston producing another fantastic one-handed reflex save to deny the home side.

Coniston’s dominant start to the second half was rewarded on 60 minutes. A cross from Nomura from the right saw Voloder’s volley blocked. The ball fell to James Anagnostopoulos who tried a left foot drive which was blocked. The ball rebounded back to his feet as he chose to place a shot high and into the roof of the net from just inside the box to finally beat Alston.

Two minutes later, Coniston were almost gifted a second as Evan Ball failed to get in front of a long ball that saw Voloder nick it and drive towards goal. He chipped it up and beyond the out rushing Alston with the ball just clearing the cross bar.

Half way through the second half, a long ball found Preston Ridley in space. He snap shot from the edge of the box was forAsced over the bar with a desperate lunging block from Morlando.

As we went into the last 15 minutes, Wollongong United were starting to throw players forward and enjoying a good little spell as Coniston were perhaps content to catch the visitors on the break whilst trying to protect their lead.

Daniel Geroski drilled a shot goal bound from 20 yards through a crowd of players with Genua safely getting down to smother the attempt.

Into the last ten minutes and a wicked free kick from Darjani found Stojanovski who headed over from just six yards as the missed opportunities started to grow for the visitors.

In the dying minutes, a square ball from James Sekulovski found Arditti however a desperate well time tackle from Joshua Galevski blocked what was likely going to be the icing in the cake.

Coniston were finding acres of space as Voloder’s touch send him goal bound as Alston was called up again to thwart the Coniston forward.

In the end, Wollongong United were left to rue the big opportunities missed, particularly in the first half whilst like many champions before them, Coniston ground out a win when perhaps not quite at the best.


Report by Bobby Mazevski
Photos courtesy of Richie Wagner

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